General Electric must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal that would limit the terms of two of its longest-serving board members, the Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled.
That plan would bar independent directors elected from 1998 to 2013 from running again after serving 15 years, according to messages with the SEC in which GE sought to block the vote.
Former Avon Products Inc. CEO Andrea Jung and Young & Rubicam Inc. ex-CEO Ann Fudge would be the first to feel its effects. GE’s April 24 annual meeting will be in New Orleans.
WellPoint board OKs 30% dividend increase
WellPoint Inc. said it plans to raise the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders by 30 percent, an announcement that comes about week after the health insurer’s stock started slipping after it named a new CEO.
The Indianapolis company said Thursday that it will pay a dividend of 37.5 cents a share in the first quarter, up from its fourth-quarter payout of 28.7 cents a share.
Big insurers started beefing up their quarterly dividends a few years ago to become more attractive to investors.
Ford will manufacture small engines in Ohio
Ford is preparing for a day in the near future when a small four-cylinder engine will be the motor of choice in most of its vehicles, perhaps even in pickup trucks.
Demand for the company’s 2-liter turbocharged engine is growing so fast in North America that Ford announced plans Thursday to start building the engine late next year at a factory in Brook Park, Ohio, near Cleveland. Currently it’s importing the engines from a factory in Spain.
The Brook Park plant now employs about 1,300 people who make V-6 engines for the F-Series pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America.
Ford plans a $200 million investment in the plant and promises 450 more jobs, the halfway point in a Ford hiring spurt that will total 12,000 U.S. hourly jobs by 2015.
IU professor patents sweet tweet software
An Indiana University professor has received a patent for his software that analyzes millions of tweets to predict where the stock market is headed.
WTHR-TV reports IU associate professor Johan Bollen and his fellow researchers spent years working on the software. Financial institutions and retailers have expressed interest in the program.
The software sorts and scans a half-billion tweets a day to measure the country’s collective mood. IU researchers have found that when people get more anxious there is a good chance of the market dropping three or four days later.
Symmetry 2012 profits surge with acquisition
Symmetry Medical Inc. on Thursday reported 2012 annual earnings of $9.13 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, more than triple the $2.89 million, or 8 cents a share, posted for 2011. The profit was made on sales of $410 million, a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
The Warsaw-based orthopedic device maker also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.92 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, a $6 million improvement over the loss of $3.17 million, or 9 cents a share, posted for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Last year’s earnings include Symmetry’s Dec. 29, 2011, acquisition of Codman & Shurtleff Inc.’s surgical instruments business.